Plan International Launches Strategy to End Teenage Pregnancies and Violence Against Young Girls
Plan International Kenya has today launched its new 5-year Country Strategy aiming to reach 2.75 million children and young people with the goal of ending teenage pregnancies and all forms of violence against girls and young women.
The new Country Strategy for the fiscal years July 2021 to June 2026 comes at a time when adolescent girls and young women continue to be disproportionately disadvantaged in all spheres of development impeding the realization of their full potential.
Speaking during the launch at Crowne Plaza hotel, Kate Maina-Vorley, Plan International Country Director said, “This is an important day for us as we reflect on the gains we have made in our last strategy that ended in June this year. The journey was fraught with challenges, lessons learnt and we made great progress too and recorded some notable achievements.”
Data from the strategy showed that adolescent girls aged 15-19 account for 14% of all births. About 1 in every 5 adolescent girls has either had a live birth or is pregnant with her first child below the age of 20.
The data further indicated that 98% of girls who have ever been pregnant are out of school, noting that 63% of pregnancies among adolescents in Kenya are unintended, 35% of which end in abortion. Worst, 45% of severe abortions are amongst adolescent girls.
According to the Violence Against Children Survey (VACS), 2019, 45.9% of females experience childhood violence in Kenya. About three out of ten females (31.9%) ages 18-24 experienced a form of violence in the past 12 months.
Further, nearly one in three girls has been a victim of at least one episode of sexual violence before the age of 18. Among 15.6% of females who experienced childhood sexual violence, nearly two-thirds experienced multiple incidents before age 18.
Among females aged 18 to 24 who experienced sexual violence prior to age 18, about 7 per cent have received money for sex.
Almost one-fourth of girls in Kenya are married before the age of 18. For a quarter of females, the perpetrator of the first incident of pressured or physically forced sex in childhood was a classmate or schoolmate.
The strategy is anchored on four strategic pillars namely i) Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR); ii) Prevention and response to all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination against girls and young women; iii) Protecting Girls and Young Women in Crisis and Community-led Climate Change Adaptation; and iv) Youth-led and Innovative Partnerships’ Solutions on Job Creation.
The Country Strategy was developed against a backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has led to the skyrocketing of teenage pregnancies and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (S-GBV). It reinforces the need to accelerate responsive interventions and embodies Plan International Kenya’s commitment to be at the centre of this response.
“This is how we want to show up for girls and young women for a more equal world where all children thrive, including girls. We are deepening our focus on girls and young women while not leaving men and boys behind. We recognise that while we work for all Children in Kenya, girls, especially adolescent girls are disproportionally affected and face a unique set of challenges” Ms Maina said.